TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- As experts and policymakers increasingly turn to the oceans for solutions to address climate change, there are growing calls to protect it.
The Trump administration announcement to expand a ban on oil drilling off Florida's coast was met with praise and surprise by oil-drilling opponents, considering the administration's previous efforts to expand drilling.
Robin Miller, CEO of the Tampa Bay Beach Chamber of Commerce, said instead of incremental moratoriums, there should be a permanent ban to safeguard the ocean and Florida's economy.
She thinks back to the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
"It's unacceptable to me and our organization that we even have to have this conversation today. Given the ramifications of what happened with Deepwater, I am absolutely shocked that there would be anyone in an elected position that thinks it's a good idea to drill in any waters," Miller said.
After months of hearings and investigations into ways to address the climate crisis, Congressional reports now recognize the ocean as one solution. Senate Democrats have released their framework in a report outlining how Congress can build a clean-energy future.
Director of the Ocean Defense Initiative Jean Flemma said as leaders are looking to rebuild the nation's economy after the pandemic, she believes now is the perfect time to do it in a better way.
"This is an opportunity to begin the transition to a clean-energy economy that will provide jobs, protect communities and tackle the climate crisis while correcting inequities linked to environmental injustices and health disparities," Flemma said.
She urges Congress to consider infusing the clean-energy sector with assistance funding as they negotiate additional stimulus proposals. And she warned that ignoring one ongoing crisis for another could lead to even more significant problems if there aren't plans to address climate change.